Environmental paints or low/non toxic coatings have been gaining popularity and more manufacturers are getting on the bandwagon.

Over the years paints have changed by having the most harmful chemicals removed from their formulations.

Such chemicals are most commonly known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

In years past, paint required VOCs for the product to perform properly.

Today higher amounts of VOCs in most types of paints are no longer required.

Prior to starting your painting project be sure to check older painted surfaces being painted for lead and if needed follow all local laws regarding proper lead removal.

Low and no VOC coatings, are sometimes called non-toxic and tend to place less stress on landfills, require easy cleanup and are better for those sensitive to chemicals or have allergies.

With that said, almost all paints and coatings are formulated with some form of toxins in them. Even those referred to as non-toxic or non VOC products. As a paint dries it gases off over a three to four day period The gassing off process can deposit an assortment of chemicals onto items and furniture in your home. By lowering the VOCs in paints the coating becomes safer for the environment as well as for those applying the product itself.

Even with low or no VOC environmental paints, when it comes to your health and painting, be sure to have proper ventilation. When possible, open windows and use fans to blow fumes outdoors. Those who are susceptible to the effects of chemicals might want to wear a respirator along with rubber gloves, eye protection and painters coveralls.

Other ways to help the environment and ones health would be to buy only what you need, clean your roller covers/brushes less often and wrap paint dampened tools in plastic until a project is completed. Also, wash painting tools in a bucket of clean water as oppose to in the sink, then dispose of any dirty water or used sundries accordingly.

If you have old paint, dry it out by removing the lid then dispose of the paint as solid waste, items that are solid waste can be discarded into most local land fills. With new paint or paint leftovers, store the paint filled cans upside down to keep them from drying out.

For those who would like to use their paint leftovers, try mixing them combining environmental paints along with non environmental paints. Once your on the combining paint page, you will find ways to create an assortment of colors you like, using the paints you have on hand.

As far as recycled paints go, they tend to work best for exterior projects, also, keep in mind some no or low toxin coatings and paints are VOC free until you add tint. Most but not all tints have VOCs in them. Non toxic pre-mixed paints would be your best choice in such a case but can be limited in color selection.

If your looking to buy the absolute least toxic paint or coating, avoid solvent (IE. alkyd or oil) based products and look for products called Natural or Nature Paints. Also, read the label or material safety data sheet (MSDS) to acquire information regarding your selected coatings toxicity level.

For those interested in environmental paints, you might want consider non toxic wall cleaners, primers, sealers and paint strippers.


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